Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In 2013

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Above are some pictures of my inspiration/resolution/dream boards from 2013, that hang above my desk. I love doodling and having visual reminders of things I love, have done and wish to accomplish, so this works for me. I also love how I can rearrange and adjust things as the year goes. I can’t wait to make new ones for 2014, but wanted to document these before I take them down.

Some things that happened in 2013: I finished my thesis and graduated with an MA in translation, I travelled to Hong Kong with my father and brother, I got my first smart phone and a second screen for my computer, I got obsessed with Candy Crush, I got really in to audio books, my favourite book of the year was The Happiness Project, I loved playing The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, I started  doing daily walks and they helped so much with my mood and sleep, I visited friends and friends stayed with us, I decided to make traditions for holidays and enjoyed them much more, I wore shorts in the summer first time since my childhood, I decided not to strive for perfection and got so much more done, I rowed a boat for the first time in years, and I generally tried to enjoy things more, and I did.

2013 was a good year and I’m going to make 2014 even better.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Week - Christmas

This Week Christmas

I feel like this week’s pictures don’t really do justice to what a wonderful Christmas we had, but these are the pictures I took.

1. It was rainy and warm and snowless all the previous week, but then on Monday it started snowing and it was still snowy on Christmas Eve. We celebrate Christmas on the 24th in Finland. So we got a white Christmas after all. It all melted away on Christmas day.

2. I’m really happy how our Christmas turned out. I was complaining how I wasn’t feeling at all festive, until I realized that if I wanted something to happen, I should make it happen. And I did. We got a tree and hung up fairy lights, and I made a wreath, a snow lantern, a wintery pillow and some snowflakes for our windows. I also got a Christmas rose for our balcony. And I started a small collection of Christmas mugs. Now, I get jolly just thinking of pulling all of that out next December!

3. Jake worked morning shifts through Christmas, but after he got off on Christmas Eve we went to visit his parents. We had a lovely Christmas sauna and then a delicious dinner. I especially enjoyed the salmon and halloumi.

4. I made the dessert: banoffee pie. I also made these pecan chocolate chip cookies. Basically the two recipes I always make when there is a some kind of a celebration.

5. After dinner I went to visit the graveyard with Jake's parents. You can’t really tell by this picture, but it was pouring rain and we didn’t stay for long. The candles were making a huge hissing noise as rain hit them.

6. After we got home, I made Jake watch the Snowman with me, because we had missed it in the morning. The Snowman must be watched on Christmas.

7. I know presents aren’t supposed to be the thing about Christmas, but they are so much fun! I got some lovely ones, but probably the best was a book about Moomin amigurumi patterns I got from Jake's parents. It is amazing. I already started crocheting Hemulen.

8. As for Jake's presents, I made him this pillow that looks like a NES controller. I wasn’t sure if he’d like it or think it was lame, but luckily he really seemed to love it.

9. My cousin was visiting some family with her husband and two sons, and on Friday they picked me up and we went to do some shopping. We had a nice outing and I came home with a laundry basket (and other stuff). It’s weird how happy a good laundry basket can make you. Yep, I’m definitely an adult.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This Week

This Week

Christmas is almost here! The pictures this week are pretty boring, but I’ve just been doing Christmas shopping and some DIY gifts and don’t really want to post pictures of those yet.

1. Someone had put up a tree in the hallway. It looks a bit forlorn there by the fire extinguisher. I love the effort though.

2. On Monday, the advent calendar offer for our local store was 24 rolls of toilet paper and 16 rolls of paper towels for 10 €. I think it’s a mark of adulthood when you get exited about cheep toilet paper. I also pretty much run there the day they had laundry detergent on sale. Yep.

3. In addition to making those Hama Bead snowflakes for our kitchen window, I also made this Mario mushroom for Jake. These would make fun Christmas ornaments. Imagine a whole tree with them!

4. Speaking of Christmas trees, I saw this one on my walk the other day. Someone had tied it to street sign in the middle of the road. it was decorated, too. It was so out of place I had to stop and take a picture.

5. And the most important news of the week! We got fast internet! The best that has been available for our building so far was 8 Mb, and now we got 100. And a Wi-Fi. Now my phone actually loads pictures. It’s amazing.

Hopefully next week I will have more exiting stuff to share!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DIY Hama Bead Snowflakes

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I’ve always thought Hama Beads were a bit, I don’t know, tacky maybe, but then I saw these snowflakes on Pinterest. So cute. Now I’m obsessed.

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I had a bit of trouble getting started. You are supposed to construct them on the plastic base and then iron them through a baking sheet to melt the beads together. It took a few tries to figure out what to do. The first one I melted a bit too much and the second one I somehow managed to tie into a knot! Alright then. After that I was a bit more careful.

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These two I made with a circular base.

And these with an hexagon.

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I actually think I could have melted these a bit more, because they feel a bit fragile. But I hung them up on the kitchen window with sewing thread and they look very pretty and wintery.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Wish List

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I have a few Christmas projects I’d  still like to share, but the days have been so overcast and dark it’s impossible to take bright enough pictures.

So instead, I though I’d make a little (imaginary!) wish list of things I’d like to receive this Christmas. None of these are things I need, just thought I’d fantasize for a bit. All of these are from my Wish List board on Pinterest.

1. Some kind of delicious smelling scented candle. I wish we had a Bath and Body Works here, their candles sound amazing!

2. Iroisie Soin Parfait BB cream. I had to give up all my make-up when I discovered I was allergic to Kathon CG. This sounds really good for a natural BB cream, and while I don’t really wear make-up everyday, it’d be nice to have some to put on on special occasions.

3. New sheets to start the new year with, like these fresh grey and white striped ones from Anno.

4. Patyka Biokaliftin remarquable cleansing oil. I use the oil cleansing method to clean my skin, and while sunflower oil works just fine, I’d love to try something fancier like this.

5. Rebecca Minkoff MAC bag. This a bit in right now (how horrible!), but it seems like a nice bag and just the right size for fitting in everything I need daily.

6. Cosy fur lined slipper shoes. I like these Ugg ones, but I’ve also been eyeing some from a Swedish company called Shepherd. I couldn’t wear them outside yet, but they’d be great once the snow melts. And they would be wonderful for travelling in! Cold airports and all that.

So there! And world peace.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY Pom Pom Pillow

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I’ve been making so many pom poms lately! This time on a pillow.

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I saved a picture of this pillow from Living with punks ages ago on my DIY board on Pinterest and finally decided to do something like it.

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I’m not much of a sewer, so instead I crocheted the pillow. I used the same pattern I’ve used for the bows in my wreaths, just on a larger scale. I also decided to sew the pom poms more tightly onto the pillow than in the original. It just seemed like a sturdier option.

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I just love how it looks. I used a wool yarn and the combination of white crochet and pom poms makes it look so wintery and cosy.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

This Week

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1. and 2. The weather has been zigzagging this week.  It’s been very warm and raining, and then cold and snowing on alternate days. This has resulted in some mighty slippery roads. I did a glorious flip on my bike and landed on my knees. A lovely picture of those, for everyone’s pleasure.

3. We went to see the second Hobbit movie on Friday. Jake got free movie tickets from work and we’ve been saving them for this. It was ok. I didn’t know Lee Pace was on it (I love Pushing Daisies), but his role was so creepy, even that didn’t save the movie for me. I did manage not to go to the toilet mid-way, which was a kind of a victory for me. And we got kebab afterwards, so it was a nice evening.

4. I got this mug as a thank you from our neighbours, for whom I did a small translation. That’s my professional career so far. Still, the mug is very cute. It’s the 2013 Moomin Christmas mug and the only festive mug I have so far. Very good for drinking glögg out of.

5. I wrapped some presents today and I hate to say this but I’m so bad at wrapping.  You’d think I could be decent. I mean, I craft, I crochet, you’d think I could work some paper and tape, or you know, make those fancy stylish packages with hand painted polka dots and pom-pom decorations, but no. I produce oddly shaped lumps with tape on odd places, because I accidently brush it against the paper then can’t remove without ripping the paper and have to leave it there. Merry Christmas, have a lump!

6. Jake skipped lunch at work to queue for PlayStation 4. 500 € that thing cost and there are practically no games for it either yet. It came with Killzone, so that’s what he’s been playing.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Crochet Snow Lantern

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We live in an apartment so we don’t have a yard, just a balcony. So, I had this amazing (in my opinion, of course) idea that I’d make a snow lantern, like the once we used to make when we were little, only instead of snow I’d use yarn and polyfill and then I could keep it inside! Using a led light of course, this thing would catch fire like nobody’s business.

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Crocheting the balls was the fun part, just make a basic amigurumi ball in the size you want. Trying to assemble it or even trying to pile it for a second, so I could see how it was coming together and estimate how many more I still needed to make, was the part where the balls kept rolling on every direction and I lost my temper. Whew. But I managed it! And I think it looks so nice. I like how it is minimalistic and even quite sophisticated as far as Christmas decorations go, but also cosy and fun. I can see myself pulling this out every winter for next 50 years, without it looking tacky.

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I sewed all the balls together, and it is really sturdy. I could throw it across the room and not do it any damage. But if I were to do it again… I’d use a glue gun. And just try to control my throwing impulses. Also, I love crocheting, but definitely the easier route would have been just wrapping Styrofoam balls with yarn and gluing them together. Ah well, all that ends well!

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

This Week

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1. This week we celebrated the independence day, so most pictures are about that.

2. It’s getting freaking cold in here. I know, I’m Finnish, shouldn’t I be used to the cold? No. You have to get used to it every year and when it suddenly is 10 degrees colder than yesterday, you just want to stay indoors and whimper. Come spring, today’s –14 degrees will feel pleasantly warm, but now it’s excruciating.

3. I made a cream cake to serve on independence day and was terrified it’d be horrible, especially since this was my first time making an eggless cake. But everyone liked it! I know half the world seems to think a good cake is dry with butter cream frosting, but I think it must be an acquired taste. This is probably an acquired taste, too, but I like a cake moistened with orange juice (a bit like tres leches, only with juice), and layered with whipped cream, strawberry yam and banana slices, and topped with more cream.

4. We don’t own a car, so Jake’s grandparents kindly took me to buy a tree, so I wouldn’t have to lug it by foot. It took me well over an hour to fluff and assemble it properly, but it was kind of fun and the tree is so pretty. I put up just Christmas lights on it and will decorate it nearer to Christmas.

5. I had to include this picture, because my expression is kind of priceless. Jake’s parents and grandparents came over for coffee and cake on independence day and it was so nice.

6. After it got dark, Jake and I walked to the graveyard and it was so beautiful with the snow and all the candles.

7. I lit up a candle for those buried else where as none of my family is buried here.

8. In the evening I watched the president’s independence day reception. it was kind of boring, but it is traditional! And I had hot cocoa and Jake’s grandma’s cinnamon rolls to munch on.

9. On a none festive note, our local grocery store is doing this advent calendar thing, where everyday there is one item on a huge discount. On Friday it was mega bags of potato chips for 1 euro, but because it was a holiday, it continued on Saturday. And Saturday's item was 1,5 litre bottles of soda for 99 cents. We stocked up.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

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Today is the independence day here in Finland and, being on a bit of a wreath kick, I decided to make an (independence) wreath for our door.

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I was inspired by this tutorial on Bleubird blog. For colours I chose three different shades of blue and two different shades of white. I didn’t have a wreath base, so just cut two rounds from a pizza box and wrapped them with blue yarn to make the base more sturdy. Once I had a mound of pom-poms and was running out of yarn, I started to tie them onto the base. Then realized that I didn’t have enough and had to make some more. The wreath takes a huge amount of pom-poms, but they are so much fun to make, I didn’t mind.

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I’m already thinking about other colour combinations to try. White and different shades of red, with a green bow. Or all white with a red bow.

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I know that in some countries independence day is a huge party with fireworks and stuff, but we are just going to burn candles, eat cream cake, visit the graveyard and watch the president’s independence day reception.

Happy independence day!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DIY Spruce Pom-Pom Wreath

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As a first step in my Christmas Spirit project, I decided to make a huge wreath for our front door, so you would feel a bit festive every time you came or went. I had seen this adorable pom-pom spruce wreath on Pinterest and wanted to do something similar.

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The pictures are a bit washed out, especially the bow for some reason, but I think it turned out very pretty.

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I bought a fake spruce base, then made a bunch of pom-poms from left over yarn. While watching YouTube, pom-poms are a great mindless project. I chose a pastel colour scheme based on what I had. I crocheted a striped bow for some extra interest. I fiddled with the placement a bit and then when it looked about right, sewed everything in place, to make sure that every time someone slammed the door there wouldn’t be a cascade of pom-poms. Though a cascade of pom-poms does sound lovely.

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I have to add, I had to pluck a few spruce bits away after I hung it up on the door as they were blocking the peephole a bit. Something to consider if you are making one.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This Week

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1. The snow melted away again in the beginning of the week. Then it snowed again, and now it’s snowing some more. I don’t really like winter (good thing I live in Finland!), but even in my book snow is allowed in December.

2. More sweets. I went to the store and saw that Kinder Buenos were on sale. It’s Jake’s favourite chocolate so I bought him 12. He got super exited and went back to get a whole box. We have a few chocolate bars here!

3. Jake and I have been playing the new Mystery Case Files. These are so fun to play together. Though we always fight on who gets to hold the mouse.

4. Jake bought the new Zelda game and has been playing in bed before going to sleep. He claims there is no volume control in DS. Right.

5. And I’ve been reading this book on Second World War. It’s very interesting and very horrifying. Jake was chatting with a friend of his who works at the library and I went to look for something to read. When I came back he asked if I couldn’t find anything thicker.

6. For a few years now (I don’t know how many), I haven’t really felt very exited for Christmas. I mean, I’ve wanted to feel exited, but haven’t. So this year I’ve decided to try my darnest to feel festive and exited. Operation Christmas Spirit commence! I’ve started some decoration projects, convinced Jake that we need a full size Christmas tree and bought some presents. And downloaded a few Christmas apps for my phone. I thought, even if I don’t get a full on Christmas this year, if I start now and add a few new decorations and traditions each year, in a few years I can just pull out existing decorations and feel festive by the power of nostalgia. I hope. Anyway, I’ve already finished a few projects and will be posting them soon!

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